06.30.17

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Former ‘Kats’ Debunk IP Kat (Bristows) on Unitary Patent, Insisting It May Even be Dead

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also: The Tide Has Turned Against the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and It Finally Looks as ‘Alive’ as TPP

David PearceSummary: Team UPC, whose entire raison d’être is to promote the UPC, struggles to reinvent itself and instead tries drawing blood from a stone, causing all sorts of disagreements among patent professionals (those who aren't in Team UPC)

THE EPO continues to remain silent about the UPC. That silence is due to the fact that the UPC — like the EPO under Battistelli’s atrocious leadership — may be dying. It’s an existential crisis.

Team UPC, however, refuses to remain silent, except when it comes to Germany (it just doesn’t want to even touch the subject). Watching Bristows, for example, has become pure comedy/hilarity! Bristows are so technically incompetent that their main RSS feeds are broken (to the point of being not parse-able at all) and their UPC blog is nearly abandoned. It’s actually syndicated in such a way that the RSS feed is so bloated that it goes all the way back to 2013! They can’t even figure out how to use a decent CMS!

“Team UPC, however, refuses to remain silent, except when it comes to Germany (it just doesn’t want to even touch the subject).”Anyway, Bristows remains the last hope of UPC hopefuls. IAM keeps citing Bristows as if it’s an accurate source of information (IAM itself is supported by the EPO for UPC propaganda) and based on the Estonia mirage (or Slovenia being the latest distraction vector), Bristows staff wrote this anonymously in Kluwer Patent Blog (after getting caught deleting comments in Kluwer Patent Blog). How much worse can it get? They don’t have audience in their blog (they have in fact mostly dropped their own Twitter hashtag after it had been used to debunk them) and now they prey on other blogs! We have already debunked the latest talking points from Bristows twice [1, 2], first based on Bristows’ blogs and then IP Kat (where Bristows intruded, as usual). But they can’t stop, can they? Even former ‘Kats’ criticise this, not to mention commenters in IP Kat (those whose comments don’t get deleted).

Well, yesterday we spoke to (or exchanged a word with) a former (IP) ‘Kat’, David Pearce (better known as “Tufty the Cat”). He isn’t too happy with the unwarranted UPC optimism and he wrote: “I wonder, do these #upc people have an inside track on #brexit negotiations? If not, their guess is as good as anyone else’s. [] Educated guesswork, but nonetheless just guessing. I predict it’s dead, but I’m just guessing too.”

“We have already debunked the latest talking points from Bristows twice…”He later said: “I think Barnier and Juncker are desparate not to make brexit a success. If they prevail, I can’t see how #upc could go ahead.”

Barnier was actually one of the main forces behind UPC.

This isn’t the first time that Pearce expresses discomfort over Team UPC’s claims. He even links to our responses to these UPC claims sometimes.

Meanwhile at IP Kat (yesterday), Annsley Merelle Ward from Bristows continues to write about the UPC as though it’s a done deal just waiting to be sealed/approved. To quote from an ‘interview’ (advertisement): “Also, as reported previously on the IPKAT the European Trade Secrets Directive will be implemented in Denmark through an entirely new and independent act on trade secrets.”

Will be?

“Misattributing claims to Alexander Ramsay, some already pretend that UPC will kick off at the start of next year.”As if it’s inevitable? The word “would” could be excused, but not “will”.

Denmark seems to have just sacked its own head of PTO (DKPTO). Nothing is certain.

Nowadays, Alex Robinson‏ is emerging as a raving fan of UPC and defender of Bristows’ spin. Responding to this baseless prediction (which upset Pearce), he later wrote (after challenge): “This seems to me to be a diplomatic way of saying “we have as much idea as the rest of you” – i.e. little to none…”

Misattributing claims to Alexander Ramsay, some already pretend that UPC will kick off at the start of next year. Is this what they tell clients too? Will they lie to them? Will it be like those infamous scenarios where lawyers give clients the “professional advice” which it to give more money to lawyers for more “professional advice”?

“I heard that the Constitutional Court should decide within ~6m whether the action has merit.”
      –Glyn Truscott
There are more comment on these tweets from Mr. Pearce, whose honesty on these matters we’ve always appreciated (standing out from the crowd that worships a naked emperor isn’t easy).

Glyn Truscott‏, a Patent Attorney/Partner at Elkington + Fife, wrote [1, 2]: “I heard that the Constitutional Court should decide within ~6m whether the action has merit. If so, will then be passed to another court….whether this is correct remains to be seen. All a bit opaque at the moment!”

Yes, obviously. In light of the situation at the EPO, it’s looking grimmer. What are the chances of a UPC any time next year? Even raving fans like IAM think that the chances are slim.

Regarding the situation in the UK, see the following new comment which stresses the impact of Brexit:

Before the UK parliament debates the affirmative SI , would it not make sense for the JCSI to first check whether there is any possibility of the UK staying in the UPC post-Brexit?

Even if one assumes that Gordon and Pascoe are correct and that the UK’s continued participation is possible, there are a number of preconditions that must be met. The problem for the government is that some of those preconditions might be (politically or practically) impossible, or inconsistent with the government’s Brexit policy in another area.

Problematic areas that immediately spring to mind are the jurisdiction of the CJEU (both Mrs May and, more worryingly, Mr Hunt have said that this must come to an end) and the time that it will take to get all relevant parties to agree upon and ratify a revised version of the UPC Agreement. The latter point is particularly challenging, as I would question whether there is already too little time – and there will certainly be too little by the time that we might actually know what the UK’s exit agreement looks like (and so precisely how the UPCA needs to be re-written).

To me, it would seem to be the worst of all possible worlds for the UK to help bring the UPP to life, only then to (shortly afterwards) exit the EU and (likely) both leave the unitary patent system and bring into doubt the continued validity of anything done under the UPC Agreement. That would take the levels of uncertainty for rights holders and third parties to truly stratospheric levels.

Of course, to take any of this into consideration would require joined-up thinking within government… and so I guess that I had better not hold my breath waiting for that to happen!

A lot of these comments keep citing Gordon and Pascoe, but they too have a financial objective and eggs in the UPC basket. As the above notes, Brexit expectation makes “Unitary” patents rather unattractive a prospect in the UK and brings “the levels of uncertainty for rights holders and third parties to truly stratospheric levels.”

We don’t expect Team UPC’s dedicated writers to quit blogging about the UPC (probably writing about some nations with a very small number of European Patents) if only just to justify their existence. They accomplish nothing by doing this; it merely disgraces their employer and sullies their reputation.

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